50 ISIS Fighters And 23 Syrian Soldiers Killed In Deir Ezzor Clashes

| October 29 , 2017 , 18:05 IST

At least 50 Islamic State (ISIS) fighters and 23 Syrian soldiers have been killed during heavy clashes between the forces over the past 24 hours in Syria's Deir Ezzor, which once a stronghold of the ISIS.

According to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the Syria army, which controls most parts of the Deir Ezzor city, made further advances in response to an Islamic State attack that was launched on Saturday.

Following the fight, the government forces were able two capture 2 new neighbourhoods as well as the municipal stadium from the militant group, said the Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman.  

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“IS is now encircled in an area between the city and the (Euphrates) river,” Abdel Rahman said.

The Islamic State once controlled large portions of the oil-rich province of Deir Ezzor city which borders Iraq and for 3 years laid siege to other portions of the city that were under the government's control.

The advancing government forces were able to break the siege by early September and since then have been working towards expelling the militants from the remaining portions of the city.

As per Abdel Rahman, the fighting that took place on Saturday and Sunday was the fiercest in the city since the government troops succeeded in breaking the siege. He added that the regime ally Russia supported the fighters by carrying out heavy air strikes.

Expelled from the Raqqa province, the Islamic State militants are now confined to only a few pockets of territory in Deir Ezzor.

Since the conflicts in Syria began in March 2011, more than 3.3 lakh people have been killed.